After the merger of AMFM Inc. and Clear Channel Communications, the Jammin Oldies format, which AMFM had been debuting in many markets began to falter. With little corporate support and a high burnout factor in the music, it was not surprising that the format didn’t last longterm. In the meantime, Clear Channel began debuting its “brand” of CHR’s in many markets. Washington, already home to Bonneville’s weaker powererd Z104, was next in line. With the “Kiss” name unavailable, Hot 99.5 was to be born. Getting there was where things got interesting.
Bucking the trends, WJMO management gave the station a farewell weekend for the staff and listeners to say goodbye. On April 2, 2001 at 7:00am, Survivor Radio was born. Just like the TV show, 5 people were “chosen” to play their MP3 libraries, with one voted off the station each day. The surviving person’s music library would be the new format of the station. Of course, the format was already chosen and all of the contestants had libraries of different variations on CHR, but don’t tell the common listener that. Finally at 5:03pm on Friday, April 6, 2001, Hot 99.5 was born as “Washington’s Real Hit Music Station.”